
 Gresham College  Transcript 
  Prime numbers are central to mathematics because they form the building blocks for numbers – every whole number can be built up from them: they’re the ‘atoms’ or ‘fundamental particles’ of mathematics. 
  First, there’s a number x, which is about 1.3064, with the property that if you raise it to the powers 3, 9, 27, 81 (the powers of 3), and then drop the fractional bits, you always get a prime number. 
  The first is that the prime numbers belong to the most arbitrary objects studied by mathematicians: they grow like weeds, seeming to obey no other law than that of chance, and nobody can predict where the next one will sprout. 
 www.gresham.ac.uk /printtranscript.asp?EventId=275 (4106 words) 
